Why Group Therapy Works and How to Do It
A Guide for Health and Social Care Professionals
This book describes how group treatment offers a unique opportunity for group members to learn and to change as they interact with other group members.
The group structure presents a social microcosm of relationships that people who seek psychotherapeutic treatment find problematic in their private and public lives. In groups, the participants can observe each other, provide feedback to each other, and practice change strategies. In short, group treatment has a powerful healing and supportive function. Based on the authors’ many years of education and experience in academia, the private and public sectors, specific guidance is offered to group leaders on participation, organization, and communication in group treatment. The authors describe the history and characteristics of group treatment, how to organize a treatment group, the roles and responsibilities of the group leader, methods of group treatment, and typical responses of participants. Given its purpose and methodology, this book takes an original perspective on group treatment aimed ultimately at improving healing processes in healthcare and social care.
This book will provide a helpful introduction and guide for a range of professionals who work in primary healthcare, company healthcare, somatic care, psychiatric and social care, and the non-profit sector.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Dr Earl Hopper
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – The Significance of the Group
Chapter 3 – What is a Group – Really?
Chapter 4 – The Group as a Learning and Healing Environment
Chapter 5 – Group Therapy
Chapter 6 – Starting a Therapy Group
Chapter 7 – Conducting a Therapy group
Chapter 8 – Engagement and differentiation
Chapter 9 – Interpersonal work and termination
Chapter 10 – Semi-open groups
Chapter 11 –Group Therapy with Pre-planned Content Structure
Chapter 12 – Focused Group Therapy (FGT)
Chapter 13 – Concluding remarks
Christer Sandahl is a licensed psychologist, licensed psychotherapist, and professor of Social and Behavioural Science at the Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Hjördis Nilsson Ahlin is an occupational therapist, a licensed psychotherapist, a group analyst, and a supervisor of psychiatric groups.
Catharina Asklin-Westerdahl is a licensed clinical psychologist, licensed psychotherapist, group analyst, and team and organizational consultant.
Mats Björling, BSc, is a licensed psychotherapist, group psychotherapist, and supervisor in private practice.
Anna Malmquist Saracino, BSW, is a licensed psychotherapist, group analyst, and psychotherapy supervisor.
Lena Wennlund, BSW, is a licensed psychotherapist, group analyst, and psychotherapy supervisor.
Ulf Åkerström is a licensed psychologist, licensed psychotherapist, and specialist in clinical psychology.
Ann Örhammar is a registered nurse, licensed psychotherapist, group analyst, and psychotherapy supervisor.
"This excellent, multi-authored guide to group therapy is written in a clear, accessible and singular voice. Focused on enhancing the capacity of frontline practitioners to use group therapy effectively in a range of clinical settings, the book offers much to those who are beginning to work with therapy groups, and it is also a comprehensive resource for those with more substantial experience. This book meets a very important need in our field promoting the delivery of high-quality care." - Molyn Leszcz, MD, FRCPC, CGP, DFAGPA; President, The American Group Psychotherapy Assn; and Professor of Psychiatry, The University of Toronto, CA
"Great on theory and how-to for group leaders. Drawing from Swedish group analysts as well as Yalom and Agazarian, the authors’ integrative approach is essential reading for new and experienced group leaders." - Susan Gantt, Chair, Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute
"This will become a first-reference book at all levels of training. It was originally published in Swedish in 2016 and is now issued in English with a new introduction and conclusion. Practitioners will be grateful across the field and in many parts of the world. Written by a team of eight experienced clinicians led by Christer Sandahl, a pioneer in psychology and group therapy, it is fluent, accessible and applied. It provides a thorough and lucid guide for practitioners in a characteristic Scandinavian voice – temperate and inclusive - that assembles the contesting factions of a wide field and their histories in a measured, authoritative, focussed, coherent text. Their account of Focussed Group Therapy (FGT) is an original contribution that will be of value to all practitioners. Why Group Therapy Works and How To Do It, meets challenges posed at the outset. Why do groups with advantageous cost-benefits remain ‘the poor relation’ in practice? This book could help us change this." - John Schlapobersky, Institute of Group Analysis, London; Author, From The Couch To The Circle: Group-Analytic Psychotherapy In Practice (Routledge 2016)
"It is clear, from the title, that this book’s ambition is to provide a practical guide to the activity of group therapy, that most difficult of the psychotherapies due to the complexity of group interactions and relationships and the vicissitudes of practice in an often sceptical world. How well does it achieve this goal? Well, in reading it I was envious that the current group analytic trainees will have access to this first-class coverage of the ideas and practicalities involved in setting up a functioning group. I wish that something like this had been available for me in my own training." - Terry Birchmore, review in Contexts
"This book is an important initiative in the field of group therapy. It reveals the complexity of the work in groups, enhancing the benefits that a safe and healing environment provides to patients. Regardless of our professional theoretical or technical approach, it reveals ‘Why Group Therapy Works’ through fundamental encounters among human beings seated around a circle." - British Journal of Psychotherapy 38, 2 (2022) 403–407